In early May, news broke of a Muslim student accepted to The Citadel who had her request to wear her hijab denied by Lt. General John Rosa, Citadel President on the basis that that the appearance of cadets is the same for all across the board regardless of religious requirements.
The Muslim student, Sana Hamze, was fully aware that her request to wear her hijab at The Citadel would cause problems and used the excuse that she wanted to wear it ‘because of her faith.’ Hamze said,
“I knew it would be an uproar, just because of how Muslims are portrayed in the media now.”
Hamze also noted that she was ‘surprised’ that her request for religious accommodation at the school was ‘leaked to the press‘ and how ‘intense the reaction was‘ despite freely admitting that she was well aware this was going to cause “an uproar.” Her hijab request made national headlines and put The Citadel in the cross-hairs of CAIR, Council for American-Islamic Relations, which led to the terror-linked group to threaten a lawsuit against the prestigious historical military college.
Since 1842, The Citadel has had a rich history in the development of leaders based on teamwork and not individual preferences; a fact well-known for 174 years to all those who’ve attended this elite military college. Hamze, a 17 year-old from Florida, aspires to become ‘an officer in the U.S. Navy’ and attending a military college to achieve that goal seemed logical to her, but not wearing her hijab was not an option given her religious beliefs. She told The Citadel Commandant, Lt. General John Rosa, that ‘she did not think it was fair that she had to choose between her religion and her education there.’ She later asked Norwich University, a private military college in Vermont, if she could wear her hijab at the school which they immediately approved her request; Hamze will attend Norwich as a result.
Her father, Nezar Hamze, stated the family is still considering legal options against The Citadel with a CAIR attorney (Nezar Hamze is a regional operations director for CAIR in Florida). He said of his daughter,
“First and foremost is my daughter’s education. She would rather be somewhere they accept her for who she is.”
For 174 years, The Citadel has educated some of the best and brightest minds with one core principle in mind: the value of teamwork. There are no individuals in this setting nor is it advocated and this young female and her family failed to fully educate themselves (or they deliberately targeted the military college) on the standards by which The Citadel views its cadets – that they are all one and the same by virtue of uniformity. That is the standard and hasn’t been deviated from for 174 years.
This young female knew her request to wear her hijab at The Citadel would cause problems, but she asked anyway despite another military college who was more than willing to accept her and her religious accommodation request. There is a high probability that she and her family (with the help of CAIR) leaked it to the press in a feigned attempt to exploit The Citadel and its rules for profit.
Does this young female and her family have a potential lawsuit against The Citadel? Should military colleges allow for individual religious accommodation? Sound off in the comments below.